What Else Can You Display On a Business Map?

Throughout this blog we’ve discussed displaying or visualizing customers, prospects, competitors, and resources on a web map. You’ll find several blogs and videos that address the idea of visualizing and symbolizing those business data types. What other sorts of data can you display on a business map?

Show Them the Money
Business mapping software is used most often by sales and marketing folks. In addition to the usual data suspects, sales and marketing users like to display sales and marketing results. Mapping software can help you visualize sales values, revenue values or campaign results by geographic area. By projecting, collecting, and reflecting campaign results by zip code, county or state you enhance the presentation of your projects results.

Use your map to describe both component and total sales dollars – such as sales by county and then sales by territory. Insert your sales averages or totals into your county, zip or territory labels for a succinct display of dollars associated with an area. All bosses are very interested in visual graphics showing business dollars in relation to effort, time, or other variables. Using a map to display revenue or sales dollars connects real value with critical areas of business interest. Maps easily relate business values to demographic data extending the value of location-based monetary visualizations.

Think it through. You can color code by location point, geographic area, or use alternative symbols like charts or oversized circles. And you can combine multiple methods, but make sure your map tells the story you want it to. Be careful, lest the map tells the story of how disorganized you are…

Another Dimension – Time
Recently an account of mine was interested in viewing events by both location and scheduled time on a web map. They needed to identify all possible event overlaps and duplicates across an area represented by a 2 hour drive time polygon. They had quite a few events and locations to compare. Trying to view each event’s specific time would have created map clutter – and lot’s of it. So we created a time range that we could color code. We added a column in their spread sheet for “Week Assignment” and assigned a two-week period of time to each record. Each record had one or 26 time assignments. We than color-coded the data by the Week Assignment column in their spreadsheet. This way, with a simple glance at the map we could quickly see all of the events within an area that were at risk for redundancy over a two to four-week period.

By converting time values, or other values into classifiable records within a spreadsheet column you can add a whole new dimension to your business map. Classification just means being organized. By choosing to color-code based on your classified column you organized your map making it much easier for your audience to view and comprehend.

Sales organizations are usually focused on selling and marketing products. Product offerings or product lines are often presented as an array or matrix. A widget, file, or service may be further classified by model name, brand, and manufacturer. Call support and sales centers like to be able to reference product information quickly. In some case, a map can be useful in linking geographic location with product availability. In a simple form this might be a Store Locator Map on a web site. I live at this address and I’m interested in buying new sneakers. Where can I shop for my product and brand?

By using a business mapping software to connect location and product, a business can inform their call center associates of critical product details like:
• What products are the most popular sellers in a particular county?
• What store location has the largest inventory of alternative styles?
• What is the ratio of Coach bags sold, vs. knock off bags sold, by metropolitan area?
• Where you ate ham sandwiches last week – are you’re still paying attention?

You can see that you can display many elements of business activity on a good business map. I’d be interested to know of more examples from your business world.

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About Geoffrey Ives

Geoffrey Ives lives and works in southwestern Maine. He grew up in Rockport, MA and graduated from Colby College. Located in Maine since 1986, Geoff joined DeLorme Publishing in the late 1990's and has since logged twenty-five years in the geospatial software industry. In addition to business mapping, he enjoys playing classical & jazz piano, gardening, and taking walks in the Maine mountains with his Yorkshire Terrier named Skye.
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